The success of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar in the early 1970s was partly attributed to its initial release as a concept album on vinyl. Before the show hit the stage, audiences knew the lyrics and the music was already in the public consciousness. Clever move.
2012’s answer to the vinyl is downloadable music, so in the lead up to the World Premiere of new musical An Officer and a Gentleman, Producers John Frost and Sharleen Cooper Cohen have announced that samples of new music clips of songs from the show will be available to download in February.
For 48 hours on February 2 and 3, the first track – “If You Believe In Love”- will be available for fans to hear a sneak peek of the show. Sung by Australian music theatre star Amanda Harrison, “If You Believe In Love’ will also be available view on YouTube from February 4.
On February 16 and 17, fans will have another 48 hour window to download “I Wanna Fly”, sung by Ben Mingay, and “Up Where We Belong”, recorded in a studio by the four stars of the upcoming musical: Ben Mingay, Amanda Harrison, Kate Kendall and Alex Rathgeber. These songs will be available to view on YouTube from February 19.
The story of An Officer and a Gentleman is itself incredibly well known from the Academy Award-winning film (based on the life and experiences of writer Douglas Day Stewart during his stint in the US Navy). With the iconic final scene already a part of popular culture, will allowing the public prior access to the music assist in the success of the production? If it worked for JCSS, fingers crossed this brand new musical will move from screen to stage in an elegant and seamless manner.
Composers Ken Hirsh and Robin Lerner, who have written the music and lyrics for An Officer and A Gentleman have formidable track records as songwriters. Individually, their songs have been recorded performed by artists including Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Harry Connick Jnr, The Backstreet Boys and Placido Domingo.
Together, they have created what is sure to be a monumental score with pop and music theatre influences. Directed by Simon Phillips and Musically Directed by Dave Skelton, An Officer and A Gentleman will premiere at Sydney’s Lyric Theate, The Star on Friday 18 May 2012.
Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer/co-producer Sharleen Cooper Cohen.
Until the downloads become available, we have a sneak peek of the principal cast singing ‘Up Where We Belong’ live at the official launch last year. Video also includes an exclusive interview with producer John Frost about the production.
In An Officer and A Gentleman, Ben Mingay (Jersey Boys) plays Zack Mayo, the role that brought a young Richard Gere to the attention of film audiences around the world. Mayo is the classic angry young man who grew up in a “sewer” and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life. Amanda Harrison (Wicked) stars as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her. This role was played by Debra Winger in the film. Kate Kendall (MTC’s Next to Normal, Stingers) is Lynette Pomeroy, Paula’s best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera, MTC’s The Drowsy Chaperone) is Sid Worley, the likeable son of a Navy Admiral who is the class “superstar” at the Naval Academy.